DRIFTIN’ 101

Disclaimer:

This is for entertainment purposes only.  Please do not try or attempt any of the driving methods described below.  Street Life Promotions and or its affiliates are not responsible for any injury or claims.  See our Terms of Use for more details.

Overview

driftin101Is a driving technique that involves entering turns at high angles of attack and high speed by intentionally “skidding” the rear tires during the maneuver?  The basic result of drifting is to maneuver the vehicle so that the front slip angle of the car is less than the rear slip angle. This requires that the front wheels of the car will be intentionally pointed in the opposite direction of the turn of the vehicle. The cars are tortured around the track, pushing their limits as they enter each corner faster, sooner, and more aggressively. What it all boils down to is maintaining complete control of your vehicle while appearing to have no control over the vehicle.

There is one thing that separates drifting from other forms of high performance driving: Grace.

While numbers, lap times, and finishing placement matter in all other forms of competition, in drifting what matters are finesse, showmanship, and consistency.

Drifting as a sport truly is a fan based sport.   There is no other motor sport where the winner can be determined by the crowd.

Drifting can almost be compared to gladiatorial games in a sense that the crowd has such an impact on the outcome. During a drift competition, only two cars will compete during a run or race.

The race is set up like this:

Two cars will line up side to side to each other on a section of the track known as the scoring section. One car will be the leader and the other will be the follower and they will compete against each other in the five points categories:

(1) speed of entry,

(2) angle of attack,

(3)racing line,

(4) distance between opponent, and

(5) style.

After the two cars have made their drift run through the scoring section; they will repeat this over and over again; only the leader and the follower will switch roles.

Now, if the two drivers were so closely matched in their skills of slide, the crowd can call for a “One more time”.

Which is a sort of sudden death round in which if either driver makes a mistake they will automatically loose (more on how a competition is ran in my upcoming post “The Inner Workings of a Drift Competition?”).

So to sum up drifting as a motorsport:   it’s tire smoke and cars on the razor’s edge of control, mixed with a nonstop adrenalin rush and a crowd on the edges of their seats, garnished with some of the most skilled corner artists in the world.

Origination of DRIFTING?

Drifting as a sport originally started in the hills of Japan. Kids would race up and down the mountain roads or touges.  Soon they would start to slide the car sideways around the corners to show off and to keep their engines RPMS up.  This technique of controlling the cars over-steer (over-steer is a handling issue that results when the rear slip angle is greater than the front slip angle) soon started to catch on and it’s popularity grew.  The artistry displayed by these early drifter and those to follow helped coin the term “Corner Artists” for the amazing way they could attack a corner and turn movement and tire smoke into an art form.

As a result of the excitement and growing fan base of this new sport D1 Gran Prix was formed in Japan as an organized form of racing that’s sole purpose was to challenge the drivers to one on one heats on a technical section of a track.  The driver are scored on speed of entry into the corners, angle of attack, racing line, distance between your opponent, and style.  The success of D1GP has lead to several other circuits starting around the world such as NOPI Drift, Formula Drift, and several other country specific circuits.

BEGINNERS TECHNIQUES:

These techniques do not use weight transition, so they are typically the first thing the novice drifter learns. However they are still used by the most experienced drifters, and require skill to execute properly.  These techniques aim to induce a loss of traction on the rear wheels, either by locking the wheels (hand brake drift) or using enough power from the engine to break the traction force (power-oversteer and clutch kick).

Definitions:

BEGINNERS TECHNIQUES:

Hand brake drift

The hand brake is a lever that stops the rear wheels, upsetting their grip and causing them to drift. Using the hand brake is one of the fastest, easiest, and most dangerous methods of drifting. It can also damage the car’s axles, stall the engine, ruin the rubber on the tires, etc.

Three(3) examples of this technique are:

Example 1

Approach the corner at race speed.

Let go of the gas, hold the clutch and pull the handbrake just enough to upset the rear end, turn towards the corner.

Gas and let go of the clutch at the same time.

Control the drift all the way, by counter-steering (turning away from the corner).

Example 2

Approach the corner at race speed.

Let go of the gas and pull the hand brake until the car reaches the optimum angle.

Then let go.

Control the drift all the way.

Example 3

Approach the corner at 5-20mph slower than race speed (and if mastered, in a higher gear.)

Hold the clutch and gas it just on the redline or about 6000-8300 rpm (on dial says 6-8.3 or 60-83) and hold the handbrake to the optimum angle.

Then let go.

Let go of the clutch and gas it until controllable.

Control the drift all the way.

Power over-steer or Powerslide

This can be achieved at a corner exit by stepping on the gas hard to slide sideways out of the corner.  It is most commonly employed by beginners because it teaches steering and throttle control without the danger of an actual entry-oriented drift.  In low-power cars
power-oversteer can be achieved by applying excessive amount of throttle at the end of a shift.  As you are releasing the clutch during a shift, or immediately before that while the clutch is still depressed, press the accelerator all the way to send more power to the rear wheels than is necessary for a smooth up-shift.  If done during a turn, the car will begin to slide.  This technique can be used to initiate a drift at very low speeds in an underpowered car (e.g., when shifting from 1st to 2nd gear), and to enter in a higher gear while accelerating all the way up to the turn (e.g., accelerate in 2nd on the straight and shift into 3rd as you enter the turn).

The sequence of actions is as follows:

Easily feather the gas in the straight line leading to the turn.

Turn the steering wheel to begin the turn.

Floor the accelerator.

Wait for the car to go sideways, then counter-steer and control the slide and proceed to exit the corner.

Depending on how much power the car is making it is possible to keep the gas pedal floored from the shift throughout the entire drift; in a low-power car this is often necessary.

Shift lock (compression slide)

Initiated by downshifting (usually from third to second or fourth to third, and using a very fast shift) instead of braking, without rev-matching, causing the drive wheels to lock momentarily. Helpful for very tight corners, allowing the driver to approach the corner at a slower speed and lower revs, while allowing quick acceleration when exiting the corner.  This technique can be very damaging to the engine if misused as the EUB is unable to rev limit when the engine is over-revved by the rear wheels. Premature down-shifters are called “Rod Stretchers”.

Clutch Kick

This is done by “kicking” the clutch (pushing in, then out, usually more than one time in a drift for adjustment in a very fast manner) to send a shock through the power-train, upsetting the car’s balance. This causes the rear wheels to slip.  The foot should be at an angle Heel-and-toe so the brake and gas may be pressed as well, this being needed to control speed and stop from spinning out in the drift. Clutch kick can also be used during a drift to gain angle at the expense of speed.  If the car is about to straighten itself out, kicking the clutch will cause it to rotate more.  However since power delivery is interrupted while the clutch is depressed the car will lose some speed during the process and damage the gears and crank shaft.

The steps to clutch kick:

Start driving into a corner but slower, and/or in a higher gear.  Turn into the corner.  Push the accelerator and a split second later, tap the clutch.  Keep tapping the clutch to make the wheels spin and lose traction so that they slide, but don’t let go of the gas when clutching. Control the spin with the handbrake, brake, or gas.  (If necessary, keep popping the clutch to keep the wheels sliding.  This technique can be later learned at speed to add an additional amount of rear wheel slip resulting in more drift angle.  During drift it is common to half or part depress the clutch pedal in a sudden manner to adjust the drift angle and wheel speed)

Weight transition techniques

These techniques employ a further concept of weight transition.  When a vehicle has the load towards the front, the back wheels have less grip than the front, causing an over-steer condition that can initiate a drift.  Weight transition in a side to side manner will also upset the grip level of the car and if done appropriately will result in over steer, experienced drivers will often incorporate other drift techniques with this method depending on their desired result.

Braking drift

This drift is performed by braking into a corner so that the car transfers weight to the front. This is immediately followed by throttle, which in a RWD car causes the rear wheels to lose traction.  FWD cars can also use this technique as it does not depend on the rear wheels being driven.  In FWD cars the front wheels are not allowed to lock due to the continuous power, the rear wheels lock easily due to weight transfer and due to the general front heavy design of FWDs. Good performance brake pads will help this technique.

Inertia (Feint) drift or Scandinavian flick

This is done by transferring the weight of the car towards the outside of a turn by first turning away from the turn and then quickly turning back using the inertia of the rear of the car to swing into the desired drifting line.  Sometimes the hand-brake will be applied while transferring the weight of the car towards the outside to lock the rear wheels and help the rear swing outwards.  This type of drifting causes the car to accelerate faster afterwards, because of momentum built up while drifting.  The flick is an application generally used when starting drift on a straight section of track allowing the car to be sideways before it has reached the targeted corner.

Note that the actual Scandinavian Flick maneuver in rally driving is more complex than feint drifting.  In Scandinavian flick the tires are intentionally locked by braking hard right after turning a little away from the corner.  While the wheels are locked, the driver applies steering input into the corner, adds throttle while still braking and then rapidly releases the brake pedal. This causes the car to slingshot itself through the corner.

Kansei, Lift off, or Taking In

By letting off the accelerator while cornering at very high speeds, cars with relatively neutral handling will begin to slide, simply from the weight transfer resulting from engine braking. The drift is controlled afterwards by steering inputs from the driver and light pedal work, similar to the Braking drift.

Dirt drop

This is done by dropping the rear tires off the sealed road onto dirt, or whatever low-grip surface borders the road, to maintain or gain drift angle.  Also colloquially called “Dirt Turbo”.

Choku-Dori/Manji (Pendulum)

Otherwise known as over-sway, this technique is done by swaying the car’s weight back and forth on straightaways, using counter-steer and throttle to maintain a large angle.  This is a show maneuver which displays drivers skill that usually involves many cars following the same line.  This technique is also used to connect two corners through a large straight.  The car will be drifting straight and will be drifting side to side.

Advanced Drifting Technique

Good tires that have grip and are able to drift are necessary for this technique.  Performing these techniques requires sufficient horsepower and torque.

Kanji type 1

Come up to a corner at race speed.

Push the brakes 50 meters away from the racing line at about 50% of full braking capability.

Feint as little as possible.

Power-over and clutch-kick all the way.

Use handbrake and clutch-kick to increase angle.

Kanji type 2

Come up to a corner at race speed.

Push the brakes 50 meters away from the racing line at about 50% of full braking capability.

Hold the clutch and rev up to 5000-6500 RPM.

Pop the clutch and control.

Use handbrake and clutch-kick to increase angle.

Kanji type 3

Come up to a corner at race speed.

Change down two gears and hold the clutch.

Upon commencing the drift, pop the clutch and initiate turn.

Control using 90 degrees right foot on brakes and gas.

To exit corner, rev up to 5000+ RPM, pop clutch and straight up wheels

To transition to a different direction, hold the clutch and turn in more and clutch kick.

Or come off the gas, turn in, power over-steer and control.

Choku-Dori/Manji (Pendulum)

Otherwise known as over-sway, this technique is done by swaying the car’s weight back and forth on straightaways, using counter-steer and throttle to maintain a large angle.  This is a show maneuver which displays drivers skill that usually involves many cars following the same line.  This technique is also used to connect two corners through a large straight.  The car will be drifting straight and will be drifting side to side.

Disclaimer:

This is for entertainment purposes only.  Please do not try or attempt any of the driving methods described above.  Street Life Promotions and or its affiliates are not responsible for any injury or claims.  See our Terms of Use for more details.